There are 3 main categories of insomnia and it is possible to experience all of them at the same time, including Early Morning Awakening Insomnia.
Early Morning Awakening Insomnia means waking up in the morning well ahead of the intended time, and being unable to get back to sleep.
Adults need on average, 7-8 hours of sleep per night, but many insomnia sufferers get 6 hours or less. During the day, we build up our sleep drive which helps us to fall asleep in the evening. Once asleep, this drive diminishes ready to be filled again the following day. As we age, our sleep ‘drive’ gradually wanes, making it more difficult to stay asleep for the full night (because our sleep drive empties completely before the night is through, causing us to wake up earlier than planned), despite feeling tired. Early Morning Awakening Insomnia is therefore more prevalent in the older generation.
In some cases, there is also a correlation between regular early awakenings and depression.
There are a variety of methods which can help to avoid waking up before the alarm in the morning, including exercise and diet. A diet full of unhealthy fats and rich foods can hinder our ability to sleep well, so we recommend a healthy well-balanced diet, especially in the evenings, alongside regular exercise. Only go to bed when you are tired, and avoid watching television or scrolling on your smartphone when in bed as the blue light emitted from these devices can trick your brain into thinking it is daytime.
To read about the other 2 categories of insomnia, click the buttons below.